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Feed Your Best Life: Senior Nutrition

Nutrition is the key that can unlock health and healing – your diet can help you to stay away from the doctor and enjoy your life more! The healthy food choices you make when you eat affect your mood and can treat diseases like diabetes and heart disease.

The way we eat changes slightly as we get older. Our bodies require more of certain nutrients, and the metabolism often slows so that we need fewer calories. It’s important to be more aware of what we eat so that we get the highest nutritional value from our diet.

There are several simple ways to make sure your diet is “fueling” your best life. Start with these easy tips:

Learn How to Fill a Healthy Plate

You may remember the USDA Food Pyramid – there are better and easier new models on how to create a healthy diet that you can use every time you sit down to eat. Visit MyPlate for this simple, easy to remember visual graphic that will help you make the best decisions when choosing what to put on your plate.

Eat Nutrient Rich Foods

You will need to eat a wide variety of foods to get all the nutrients your body needs. Think about your daily diet in colorful terms – try to include as many colors of the rainbow as you can. Focus on balancing these essentials:

  • Lean Proteins – poultry, beans, seafood, eggs, lean meats
  • Vegetables and Fruit – the best of these are often purple, green, or orange
  • Whole Grains – whole wheat pasta and breads, brown rice
  • Low-fat Dairy – skim milk, yogurt, cottage cheese

Avoid sodium and eat foods that are high in fiber, like whole grain breads, squash, bananas and oatmeal. Fiber helps to maintain a healthy weight and regulates your. Remember to add in supplements like vitamin D, one of several nutrients that are more important as we age.

Active cultures from supplements or foods like yogurt have been shown to improve digestion, relieve diarrhea and constipation, prevent yeast infections, improve the efficiency of your immune system, and relieve anxiety.

Get Probiotics

Probiotics can help with a wide variety of issues. Probiotics improve gut health by balancing the presence of good and bad bacteria in your digestive system. When you digestion works better, it improves the body’s overall function. Active cultures from supplements or foods like yogurt have been shown to improve digestion, relieve diarrhea and constipation, prevent yeast infections, improve the efficiency of your immune system, and relieve anxiety. Form a daily habit of taking a probiotic supplement and eat yogurt or other products that contain active probiotic cultures whenever you can.

Learn About Labels

Learn how to read and understand the nutrition labels when you go shopping. Figure out your calorie and nutrient needs and learn how they translate to the label on the food you eat. “Whole foods” (foods that have not been processed) like lean meats, whole grain breads, fruits and veggies are the best foods for you because they contain the most nutrients.

Understand Serving Sizes

Stick to serving amounts as recommended for your age and weight – this will help you to maintain a healthy weight. A healthy weight will allow you to avoid many obesity related diseases. Teach what the right serving amounts are for you – the American Heart Association has good information about nutrition for those over 60.

Drink Lots of Water

Your body requires water to function – a variety of symptoms can occur from dehydration, including fatigue, dizziness, blood pressure swings, and even confusion and fainting. Try to drink water throughout the day, and choose tea or coffee when you order a drink. Avoid beverages that are high in sodium or sugar just like you would other foods (unless otherwise directed by a physician).

Enjoy the video below to learn even more about how to make healthy food choices!